To the Editor:
Sen. Johanns has been very vocal in his opposition to Obamacare, led the first successful effort to repeal a costly mandate in the law and has sponsored every major piece of legislation repealing it. He is also a supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz’s legislation to permanently defund Obamacare.
There has been much talk recently of efforts in Congress to defund the law for one year or force a government shutdown.
Any effort to strip Obamacare funds from legislation funding the government will not pass the Senate, which is under Democratic control, and would surely be vetoed by the President. Even if it did pass, the law would still be eligible for funding in the future. This temporary action fails to achieve its own goal of stopping Obamacare.
A more likely outcome would be a government shutdown. Even this wouldn’t mean much for the future of Obamacare. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) expects substantial Obamacare implementation to continue in part because the law includes multi-year funding. The exchanges would likely continue to be setup, the IRS could continue to collect the taxes, and taxpayers would still be subject to the individual mandate.
Using one year’s worth of government funding as a tool to defund Obamacare wouldn’t stop the law, but a government shutdown would stop certain veterans’ benefits, stop paychecks from reaching our troops, potentially disrupt construction on STRATCOM’s new headquarters and create uncertainty for Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Not to mention causing possible economic and national security harm, all according to CRS.
This is why Sen. Johanns believes we should take every practical step to stop this law, but pursuing fruitless options that carry the side effect of shutting down the government – and many government services depended upon by Nebraskans – is not the way to do it.
Office of Sen. Mike Johanns